Association between microRNA-196A2 and microRNA-146A polymorphisms and progression to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma in patients with viral hepatitis B

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MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small noncoding RNAs that have been implicated in mechanisms underlying various types of cancers including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Reports have indicated that single nucleotide polymorphisms in miRNA-196A2 and miRNA-146A genes may contribute to the risk of progression of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection to cirrhosis and HCC. This study aimed to examine the effect of miRNA-196A2 and miRNA-146A polymorphisms on the progression of HBV infection to cirrhosis and/or HCC in HBV patients in the Malaysian population.

Patients and methods

This study consists of 423 chronic HBV patients without either cirrhosis or HCC and 103 chronic HBV patients diagnosed with liver cirrhosis or with cirrhosis and HCC. The single nucleotide polymorphisms of miRNA-196A2 (rs12304647 and rs11614913) and miRNA-146A (rs2910164) were genotyped using the Sequenom MassARRAY platform.


The genotype distribution in chronic HBV without either cirrhosis or HCC, relative to chronic HBV patients diagnosed with liver cirrhosis or with cirrhosis and HCC revealed that rs12304647 has a protective effect from the development of HCC (odds ratio=0.37, 95% confidence interval=0.15–0.89, P=0.027). However, rs11614913 and rs2910164 were not significantly associated with progression of the HBV infection.


In summary, rs12304647 is associated with a reduced risk of progression to HCC in patients with chronic HBV infection.

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